The Lake of the Ozarks got some bittersweet news last week, learning that Elsie the Eagle will not be able to return to the wild after being injured.

The Lake of the Ozarks got some bittersweet news last week, learning that Elsie the Eagle will not be able to return to the wild after being injured.

The Raptor Rehabilitation Project in Columbia, Missouri had been working with the bald eagle since her wing was injured in May 2017. Elsie had previously been well-documented through the Lake of the Ozarks Eagles Facebook page.

On June 19, 2018, the Raptor Rehab Project Facebook page announced that while Elsie has made tremendous progress since her initial injury, she has not been able to recover to the point that her flying is good enough for her to return to the wild.

“She is comfortable, eating well and has regained some limited ability to fly,” they said.

Elsie fractured a wing during a storm last spring. When she was taken into care by rehabbers, she left behind her mate Einstein.

Top notch flying is needed for eagles to hunt for food and protect themselves from predators.

A Missouri Conservation agent also evaluated Elsie and agreed with the assessment.

The good news though is that the bald eagle will be placed with an educational program at Mill Mountain Zoo in Roanoke, Virginia. They have a fully-mature male bald eagle, Zeus, and they have apparently been seeking a female to keep him company.

The folks at Raptor Rehab assured friends that Elsie would be in good hands at her new home.

Raptor Rehab serves the entire state of Missouri, although sometimes with other agencies to move more quickly in emergency situations. Many of their patients, however, do come from the Lake of the Ozarks area, especially Camden County. The lake itself is a major draw with its plentiful stock of fish.

Birds come to the facility through the work of the community, project volunteers and Missouri Conservation agents. If anyone sees an injured raptor, they can call the veterinary hospital’s emergency hotline for help.

A part of the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine, the Raptor Rehab Project has trained volunteers that will come out to safely capture injured birds, or coordinate with another trained rehabber to do so if it is a few hours away from Columbia.

The largely volunteer program supported mainly by community donations treats raptors from eagles, owls and hawks to osprey, falcons and vultures. They also help specialty waterfowl such as pelicans, swan, herons and egrets. Raptor Rehab sees anywhere from 100 to 120 birds each year. Nearly 100 volunteers work with the program to bring in hurt birds and do their best to help them heal.

In the past year, the program has successfully rehabilitated 19 big birds from the tri-county Lake area. Luther the Pelican and Jayne the Red-Tailed Hawk were among the successful rehab graduates this year along with screech owls, barred owls, a red-shouldered hawk and a cooper’s hawk.

Every raptor legally has 180 days that it can be cared for in the program with the possibility for an extension of another 180 days. Elsie used all of those days and still had not fully recovered.

To call in to get help for a hurt raptor or large waterfowl, to volunteer with the project or to make a donation, call 573-882-7821.

Go to, or check out Mill Mount Zoo on Facebook to continue to follow the former Lake of the Ozarks bad eagle.

And if you’re ever in Roanoke, Virginia, stop by Mill Mountain Zone and say hi to Elsie for us.